Show Me the Money

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

November 2009

When Freshwater Tissue Company acquired an old shuttered pulp mill in northern California and announced intentions to convert the facility into an integrated tissue mill, producing toilet paper from sustainably managed forests and thousands of jobs by consuming by-products and disease-prone tanoak logs from the Coastal Redwood Region, the chlorine-free and carbon-neutral business plan was deemed socially, environmentally and economically sustainable by advocacy groups, forest conservation companies, educators, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, foresters and industry experts.

So, it was disappointing to see the latest news that Freshwater is closing the mill permanently because of lack of financial support from banks, private investors and federal stimulus funds. This is just one example of thousands like it. I can’t personally vouch for the business viability of this particular project, but as just about any land developer can tell you, talk is cheap. The bottom-line is that financing for good projects throughout the country is just not available right now for the kind of sustainable economic recovery we need and have been promised. Why not?

I’m reminded of the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire” when Tom Cruise’s character, suffering from stress and a guilty conscience, writes and distributes a mission statement about dishonesty in business entitled, “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.” The famous “Show me the money!” scene epitomizes the empty values of business as usual, yet somewhat paradoxically shows that the pursuit of financial success need not be incompatible with broader goals, which must also include social and environmental value.

This lack of sustainable thinking in financial circles has not gone unnoticed by many in the industry. More than 90 percent of institutional investors questioned in a unique survey of market participants believe financial markets are now threatened by increased “moral hazard” – the belief that banks and other investors will take even more excessive risks based on implicit government guarantees – following the credit crisis bailouts than they did before it, and that fixing this must be a priority to ensure the sustainable functioning of markets. The survey, titled: “Credit Crisis: Business as usual for institutional investors” was carried out by the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets (NSFM), an international on-line network of senior, financial-market professionals and academics, AQ Research the investment research and data group, and

In response to our own industry’s need for sustainable thinking, SLDI is now entering the pilot phase for its unique Sustainable Land Development Best Practices System. Unlike other standards and certification programs, the SLDI Best Practices System helps to structure a triple-bottom-line (people, planet and profit) decision model that helps development projects achieve greater success in each area. We are interested in engaging participation from all stakeholders in the review of this system.

Your participation and comments are welcome.

Sustainable Financing Info
SLDI Study Provides Revealing Look at the State of the Industry
Show Me the Money Movie Video
NSFM Slide Show
NSFM Guiding Principles
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Ron Paul: Let the dollar prove itself

Sustainable Land Development Initiative

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The 21st century will overturn many of our previously-held assumptions about civilization. The challenges and opportunities land development stakeholders now face – to fulfill the needs of society and achieve a favorable return on investment without harming the environment – have vast implications on the sustainability of our communities around the world.

SLDI - Sustainable Land Development Initiative is a stakeholder social media association now positioned to help transform the industry that creates the very infrastructure of our civilization. SLDI is dedicated to delivering sustainable land development technology and knowledge resources to promote and enable fully integrated sustainable land development worldwide.

How do we develop a sustainable civilization?
By delivering the "holy grail of sustainable decision making" - a universal geometrical algorithm that balances the needs of people, planet and profit - The SLDI Code™
The World’s First Sustainable Development Decision Model is symbolized as a geometrical algorithm that balances and integrates the triple-bottom line needs of people, planet and profit into a holistic, fractal model that becomes increasingly detailed, guiding effective decisions throughout the community planning, financing, design, regulating, construction and maintenance processes while always enabling project context to drive specific decisions.

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SLDI Co-founders:
Terry Mock
Tony Wernke

Read The Fractal Frontier - Sustainable Development Trilogy.
Read Developing a Sustainable Endgame for the Global Economy
See history and evolution of SLDI @ SLDI Foundational Articles